By John Mayaki
IN continuation of its campaign strategy hinged on blackmail and propagation of falsehood, the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its 11th-hour candidate, sponsored an open letter asking President Muhammadu Buhari not to meet with Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the party’s candidate in the September 19 Governorship election in the State.
The letter was purportedly written by ‘Concerned Edo State APC stakeholders’.
Using its well-known letter-writing tactic of putting its words into the mouths of non-existent characters portrayed either as ‘concerned citizens’ or ‘stakeholders’ as the current case manifests, the PDP argued that by meeting with Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu,
the President will “rubbish” his stance against anti-corruption because of the said N700 million case instituted in court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in which the candidate was named as a party.
According to the PDP, the case brought before Justice J.M. Umar of the High Court sitting in Benin City, with the suit No. FHC/BE21C/2016, against Pastor Ize-Iyamu and “four other accused persons” represents enough reason for the President to turn his back on a candidate who emerged as the state’s APC flagbearer at the successful primary election he ratified.
The meddlers also construe that on account of the above non-issues, the president should divorce himself from the candidate whom he asked all organs of the APC, at the state and national level, to offer all the required support, within the ambit of the law, to win the election.
The first pointer to the ridiculous nature of the argument, and indeed the entire affair, is that the PDP, having undergone the stress to commission the writing of the laboriously lengthy essay, carefully avoided outlining details when it came to naming all those accused in the said case.
It instead settled for the concealing “four other accused persons” line that reveals its contradiction each time it attempts to shamefully weaponise the case against Pastor Ize-Iyamu whose soaring popularity and wide acceptance in the state is responsible for their jitters and sudden interest in letter-writing and literature.
The reason for this concealment, which is already uncovered by people of Edo State who have since ignored their childish tantrums, is because the four accused persons include Mr. Tony Aziegbemi, the current Chairman of the Edo State Chapter of the PDP, and the man he succeeded in office who, interestingly, also serves as the Chairman of the PDP Campaign Council for the Edo Governorship election, Mr. Dan Orbih.
The election of Mr. Tony Aziegbemi as the Chairman of the Edo PDP and the appointment of Mr. Dan Orbih as the Chairman of the Campaign Council of the PDP came after the filing of the N700 million suit by the EFCC.
When taken to task on this by curious journalists and other interested persons, the PDP defended both appointments on the grounds that allegations and a court case are not evidence of wrongdoing because of the constitutional presumption of innocence which holds that unless convicted by a competent court, accused persons remain innocent of all charges.
Besides, the PDP argued that the said sum, in any case, was sourced from private bodies, not the coffers of government, and it was distributed to its rank and file in the state who have documents to show receipt and the expending of the sum.
Summarily, the PDP, in its own argument and robust defence of its leaders, had already vindicated Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. This is further corroborated by the fact that although the case was for an alleged improper practice that took place in 2015 over the campaign funds of President Goodluck Jonathan when he was seeking re-election, the PDP, in 2016, unilaterally elected and backed Pastor Ize-Iyamu as its governorship candidate.
Even for a toddler, it is clear that the turn-around today, and the open letter to the President is a political reactionary attempt to cause a setback to the progressive strides of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the APC to victory on the September 19 election, having won the goodwill of the people of Edo State.
Although these faceless persons claim to write on behalf of Edo people at home and in the diaspora, the mendacious claim is exposed by the deluge of endorsements received daily by Pastor Ize-Iyamu from the people of Edo State across the world,
including prominent members of Mr. Godwin Obaseki’s government and family, who are resigning in their numbers, something never seen before, because they are convinced of Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s integrity, competence and documented manifesto to move Edo State forward.
We are confident that Mr. President is well-aware of the vicious, unprincipled and mindless attacks on innocent people and their reputation by the PDP, having been a victim of their flexible principles and morality himself.
Therefore, he needs very little convincing on why their jejune demand, alongside the shameful insistence on dragging others into their campaign of calumny to hide the failure of their candidate, stems from their approaching defeat on September 19.
This clarification is made to unsuspecting members of the public who may be tricked into believing the lies of the PDP. It is a party of power-mongers pitted against themselves by their unrestrained ambitions, and still operating on the “do-or-die” politics it introduced and poisoned our polity with.
Mayaki is the Chairman, Edo State APC Media Campaign Council